What’s in a Middle Name

My last name is Hansen, my first name is Greg, and my middle name is Alman. I always like to say that my first two names are the same as Cher’s former husband — Gregg Allman. That bit of fun made up for that fact that I always hated my middle name.

I never thought about what my middle name meant. All I knew was that my grandfather was named Alman Hansen. He wanted my parents to name me Alman, but they refused (thank God). He did, though, offer them money to give me my middle name. That was apparently a common practice when I was a kid.

Because of my surname, I assumed that my heritage was Danish. After all, it is the third most common surname in Denmark. It also happens to be the most common surname in Norway, but my grandfather emigrated to the US from Denmark. So, I’m descended from Danes, right?

Not so fast. With the advent of DNA testing sites, I discovered that I was fifty percent German, twenty five percent Swiss, and twenty five percent Danish.

What a surprise that was.

Again, I never thought about my middle name until I saw this WordPress prompt. So, I looked it up. Depending on what source you use, you’ll learn that “Alman” is a Turkish word used to identify Germans, as well as a derogatory term to describe Germans. The derogatory term is used to refer to “typical German behavior.”

What is that behavior, you may ask?

It is according to the Urban dictionary,:

  • being mean with money – not quite sure what that means, but I spend like crazy
  • taking everything too seriously – okay, you got me there
  • loving to ride bicycles – nope, my butt cannot take it
  • getting drunk on beer every weekend – maybe when I was in college, but one beer wipes me out now
  • having a terrible sense of fashion (socks and sandals) – I no longer care what I look like
  • liking the famously bland and potato-laden German cuisine – I cannot remember the last time I had German cuisine. Give me Chinese, please.
  • harboring covert prejudices toward non-Germans – nope
  • being a bootlicker to authorities – I am, if anything, anti-authoritarian
  • having blue eyes and blond hair – not even close

According to the above, I am not an “Alman.” Kind of like Spock – I am not Herbert.

But, once again because of the prompt, I remember that my mother used to say – “You’re so German.” That’s because I was very serious as a kid, and still am. I never knew what she meant, but now I do. At least I think I do.

Do I care? Of course I do. I take everything seriously, remember?